Book Signing and Reading Celebrates Pioneering African-American Author

10.03.17

Barnes and Noble at Kean University, will host a book signing and reading of The Hindered Hand, co-edited by Kean University English Professor John Cullen Gruesser, Ph.D., on Wednesday October 11 at 6 p.m. Gruesser was awarded a Scholarly Editions and Translations grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities for the production and publication of a new scholarly edition of The Hindered Hand by Sutton Griggs. Griggs published more novels at the turn of the twentieth century than any other African American and strove to establish a viable black print culture in the United States. 

 “The last twenty-five years have seen the rediscovery, republication and contextualization of many early African American fictional texts,” said Gruesser. “Because of the intrinsic qualities of The Hindered Hand and the context in which it was written, the novel is long overdue for reprinting in an edition that does justice to the book itself, the issues it addresses and Sutton Griggs.”

Gruesser, along with the University of Chicago’s Kenneth Warren and Tess Chakkalakal of Bowdoin College, is a member of The Sutton Griggs Project. In addition to rescuing Griggs from literary obscurity, the project’s goals include organizing a series of conference panels and symposia on nineteenth and early twentieth-century African American literature, publishing a collection of essays contextualizing Griggs’s fiction and creating uniform scholarly editions of Griggs’ five novels. Each volume in the series will be a valuable resource for scholars, students and readers of all ages.

The new editions will burnish the legacy of Sutton Griggs, challenge notions about the ways in which black American writers made use of the novel and alter currently held ideas about African American literature at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. Kean University’s Barnes and Noble bookstore is located on the first floor of the Green Lane Academic Building, 1040 Morris Avenue, Union, N.J. 

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